When thinking about Fort Collins, my mind always goes to great beer and a vibrant downtown historic district. The community is home to more than 20 craft breweries, including the fourth largest U.S. craft brewer, New Belgium Brewing Co. However, there is a significant artsy side that groups should plug into as well when meeting in this northern Colorado community.
Painted Pianos & Transformer Cabinets
Create a team-building scavenger hunt to find some of the 100 pianos painted by artists that are rotated to locations around Fort Collins. Now its 10th season, the piano project is a collaboration between the City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places Program, Bohemian Foundation, and the Downtown Development Authority. It’s fun to sit down and play a tune while admiring the art.
Or create a challenge to find some of the 377 transformer cabinet murals throughout the city and propose some new ideas. Introduced in 2004 as a graffiti abatement program, the Transformer Cabinet Mural Project lowers maintenance costs and adds colorful art installations in unexpected places. Local artists and nonprofit groups paint the cabinets in this collaboration between the City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places Program and Utilities Light and Power.
Places to Create
One of the coolest make-your-own projects for groups that I’ve run across is designing and creating your own custom shoes at Colorado Shoe School, with options ranging from one to five days. Participants work in a custom-built studio that resembles a towering treehouse in Bellvue, a small community about 15 minutes from downtown Fort Collins. Making sneakers is a one-day effort, while slippers require two days and shoes/boots five days.
For projects that take less time, head straight for Extra Arts & Drafts, Fort Collins’ first maker’s bar that opened in March 2021. Groups can create upscale DIY projects like leather objects, moss or string art, macrame, bottle openers, resin jewelry, and more while sipping a beer, wine, cider, or non-alcoholic offering.
During summer, the alfresco music scene comes alive in Fort Collins. Groups, visitors and locals alike can enjoy tunes five days a week. Most are free, and there is typically the option to purchase food and beverage. Why not join in the festivities if your gathering isn’t too large or utilize the venues and local bands for your own private gig?
Add a little color and style by embracing the art while meeting in Fort Collins.